Even though I am an authentic Thai Southern people, yet I have not been to Songkhla for very long time. I remember that when I was a child, my family like to take me to travel in Hat Yai to buy some cheap price electric appliances and other snacks which are pretty much cheaper than the stuff selling in my hometown, Phuket. Yet, when the time changed, we don't need to travel on a long journey to buy those things anymore, and that's why I haven't had a chance to travel to Songkhla ever again.
As for Phatthalung, it is just only a bypass province that I drive through, yet still don't have a chance to take a visit. To tell you the truth, I also would like to visit Phatthalung and Songkhla very much due to I have often seen the beautiful pictures of "Pak Pra" and "Central Mosque of Songkhla" and they have attracted the photographer like me to go traveling and take a photo of those views by myself as they are the beautiful photo spots for those who like shooting landscape photos. Therefore, as soon as my friend, who likes to take a photo like I do, asks me to go traveling+shooting photo in "Songkhla-Phatthalung" with him in a trip that having Tourism Authority of Thailand, Had Yai Office together with Nok Air as a sponsor, even though I have mostly used up my holidays and leave off days, without hesitation, I immediately agree to go with him. And this is how this trip happens.
Before we go traveling, I would like to leave my blogs a bit for you guys to follow my works and reviews.
For this trip, we take off early since 06.00am from Don Muaeng Airpot, I am more tired than everyone as I have to begin the journey from Phuket , thus I have to wait at the airport since midnight. And due to I have only 5-6 hour for connecting flight, therefore I take this chance to try staying at Sleep box which located right in Don Muaeng Airport, the accommodation price costs 1,000 baht for 3 hours and I have added up 1 hour for 200 baht, with this price is also come with free 200 baht breakfast coupon. Well, the room is rather good, not too cramped, actually the size of the room is equally to 2-3 stars hotel in Japan. Only con matter is that guests could hear the airport announcement from the room from time to time, thus I would not suggest this accommodation to those who are hard to get into sleep.
Getting to Hat Yai (Songkhla) from Bangkok is pretty easy as Nok Air has offered a lot of flights throughout the day. If you fly early bird flight and back with a night flight, you could have a lot of time traveling which is pretty worth. Like this time, we also take an early bird flight and arrive at the destination during morning.
This is the morning view photo taken from the window seat on the plane. (After I take this photo, I fall into sleep at once that I have missed to eat the in-flight snacks.)
Upon reaching at Hat Yai, we do not waste anymore time and head straightly to start our mission with 8 tasty restaurants and 9 attractions.
Chok Dee Tae Tiam (1/8 Tasty Restaurant)
Tae Tiam or Dim Sum is a well-known breakfast of Hat Yai. Now as we have visited this place once in a while, we definitely won't miss out to firstly come to the renowned Dim Sum Restaurant of Songkhla and this restaurant is called Chok Dee Tae Tiam. They serve fresh hot steam Dim Sum in Hat Yai style, moreover they also have other tasty menus serving like Bak Kut Teh and many more.
Dim Sum of this restaurant comes with a big size and stuffed with a lot of meat which tastes pretty awesome, I especially prefer the menus that have been stuffed with shrimp. Bad thing is that we are busy with taking photo and by the time that we will start eating, the food gets a bit cold already and some parts of the Dim Sum skin is getting dry, I think if we eat it hot, it might be much more 28% delicious. LoL.
Another menu that visitor should not miss out is Bak Ket Teh Hotpot, the stewed pork bone and pork meat are perfectly soft with a rich taste broth, yet I think it tastes a bit salty for the person who does not eat strong food taste, I recommend you guys to flavor this dish with vinegar and pepper for more full-flavored taste.
GPS coordiantes 7.0018516,100.4752673
Songkha old city (1/9 Attractions)
If you come to Songkhla but have missed to visit "the old city of Songkhla", it is kind like you do not properly arrive Songkhla as this place is regarded as the representative of the prosperous of Songkhla province in the past to nowadays. The old city area of Songkhla consists of 3 main roads which are Nakhon Nok Rd., Nakhon Nai Rd. and Nang Ngam Rd., they are parallely lined up which have small alleys cut through each roads, thus it is pretty convenient for visitors to take a walk and admire the buildings in Sino-Portuguese style that line along the roads. Moreover, even though many buildings in this area have been renovated and repainted, yet their structure and decoration are still very well conserved their original art style.
Thing that makes the old city of Songkhla getting more lively would be street art on the buildings' wall which tells the story of the past through the art works. Furthermore, it also makes the tourists feel enjoy traveling and follow those street arts to take the most photos of them.
Visiting Songkhla, one thing that you shouldn't miss out is to try delicious food, especially at Nang Ngam Rd. is a place where a lot of popular food shops situated whether it be Giant Bun, Ice-Cream, other local snacks and also various kinds of food. Well! I would recommend you guys don't forget to try noodles that sell under the Chinese Opera Theatre, it is pretty amazing!
GPS coordiantes 7.192926,100.5896009 (located around city gate, the spot where the old city starts).
Khrua Man Thalay (2/8 Tasty Restaurants)
Khrua Man Thalay is a restaurant that belongs to Songkhla Zoo, since we have a plan to visit the zoo in the afternoon, thus this restaurant was chosen for our lunch. Most of the foods serving here are local foods such as Kaeng Som Sour Soup (Thai Sour Soup), Stir-Fried Red Curry with Striped Sea Catfish, Giant Water Bug Chili Paste, Thai Style Deep Fried Threadfin Bream Fish with Fresh Turmeric, Stir-Fried Baegu Leaves with Eggs, most of the foods taste delicious, some menu like Boiled Chicken with Giant Water Bug that I just have tasted this time, also tastes good. Another striking point of this restaurant is a beautiful view that you could clearly see the lake of Songkhla, Koh Yor and Tinsulanonda Bridge.
Songkha Zoo (2/9 Attractions)
For those who take kids with you on the trip to Songkhla, don't miss out to visit "Songkhla Zoo", it is a large zoo which located among the mountains, there are a lot of wild animals that rarely seen nowadays such as White Tiger, White Lion, Hornbills and etc.
Moreover, thing that makes children enjoy and feel exciting would be the performance of cute animals which takes around half an hour. There are a lot of cute animals come to show their performances and it could make audience laugh and attract the attention throughout the show.
As for the highlight of this place would be Penguin Parade, although I am an adult, I also love this show too. I think penguins are pretty cute while they are walking. Moreover, they also permit visitor to see and feed the penguin closely, thus, for those who would like to take a selfie shot with Penguin, please beware as it might bite your camera LOL.
The performance show will have 2-3 rounds per day and it depends day by day, you could check the details from the zoo website at www.songkhlazoo.com.
GPS Coordinates 7.1426986,100.6022922
CONTAINER Coffee House (3/8 Tasty Restaurant)
During we wait to go taking photo of the twilight light of our first day trip, we come to sit back among the pleasant air-con weather and eat some cake and coffee at Container Coffee House. The decoration of this shop is pretty cute, the front of the shop is decorated with bright color containers, inside the shop is quite airy with a cement wall alternates with bricks in industrial style which looks pretty awesome.
For the taste of coffee and cake are also pretty good, as we did order a lot of menus and we eat it all up.
GPS Coordinates 6.9964123,100.491245
Central Mosque of Songkhla, Tajmahal of Thailand (3/9 Attractions)
Central Mosque of Songkhla or called Dinun Islam Central Mosque in full name is a religious place which is pretty popular among photographers. With a beautiful architecture style and the front pool that extends more than 200 meters long, makes this place looks alike Tajmahal in India. Especially, during the sunset time, this place would look extraordinary magnificent, hence it is not surprising that this place is regraded as the popular place of photographers.
We arrive at this place considerably before time, hence we take this chance to visit inside the mosque a bit and I must accept that this place is attractively decorated and elegant.
When the sky during the evening time is getting to be colorful, we then go to settle at the end of the pool and when the sun starts setting down to the horizon, the sky that looks gloomy during the afternoon is slowly change its color from yellow to orange, the wind that flows by previously is calming down which makes the water in the pool stand still that we could clearly see the reflection of the mosque, the view is extremely marvelous that every photographer presses the shutter non-stop.
When the sun have already set a while, the light of the mosque is opened up which makes us see the different beautiful light of this place. We are pretty lucky that the sky today is allowed us to see such a beautiful scenery.
GPS Coodinates 7.0766987,100.4924575
Kao I Khao Restaurant (4/8 Tasty Restaurants)
During evening, after we feel tired from a whole day journey, we would go to listen soft music, talk pleasantly to exchange our experiences at Kao I Khao Restaurant. Actually, this place is more suitable for having light snacks and drinking some beer as the atmosphere is perfect for go out at night. Anyway, we are pretty hungry, thus we end up order main foods only which I like most of them whether it be Spicy and Sour Seafood Combination Soup, Grilled Gray Mullet Fish, Stir-Fried Streaky Pork with Chili and Salt, the recommended menu would be Rolled Sea Bass, each pieces is served in a big bite and its taste is fantastic.
Well! why I don't have any pictures of them? it is because inside the restaurant is pretty dark that I also miss to eat the chili in hot and spicy soup. Lol. Thus, I just place my camera on the table.
GPS coordinates 7.20748,100.5932259
Samila Beach (4/9 Attractions)
First night of Songkhla-Phatthalung trip, we stay at BP Samila Beach hotel which is located at the mermaid statue right at Samila cape. We also have an appointment at half past 5 in the morning at the mermaid statue to take an early light photo together. This night hotel room is considerably spacious with a balcony to see the sea view. Although, the overview of the hotel is rather old, but it is clean and convenient.
Badly, as last night I could sleep only 3 hours which make me feel blurred and turn my mobile into do not disturb mode, hence it did not wake me up. I end up wake up at around 06.00am, then immediately grab camera and go out to the meeting point but there is no-one there, they might have already taken the early light and went back to continue sleeping by now.
Nonetheless, when I see the atmosphere at the front, I don't feel regret at all, the warm weather of the sun light during morning time make Samila beach looks pretty beautiful and fresh. Before I travel here, I don't expect much of taking photo of this place as it kinds like nothing attractive, except mermaid statue and Koh Nu that I have visited when I was a child. Yet, coming back here this time entirely deletes all the old picture of this place in my mind, I feel that during morning time of this place is pretty suitable for breathe in the fresh air and do some exercise. Furthermore, the sand of this beach is white, even though it might not as fine as the sand in Andaman side, but the area around the beach is pretty clean and in order that I would have to accept that the government unit that takes care of this matter does a great job.
We all know that Thai people might don't have much discipline in term of dropping the trash, our beaches are fulled of trashes all over the floor, especially in the public area, but on the contrary I feel that Samila beach is considerably clean.
These are the photos of the hotel which are the pool and the view from my room.
GPS coordinates 7.2156227,100.5910172
Koh Yor: Wat Khao Kut-Wat Phra Non Laem Pho-Wat Thai Yo(5/9 Attractions)
The travel program in the morning would be sacred route, we would go visiting Koh Yor of Songkhla and most to the attractions would be the temple. Let's see where we will travel to then!
First attraction, we go out to see the view at Wat Khao Kut which is located on the high area that could see the view of Songkhla lake with the Tinsulanonda bridge as the highlight. I think it must be pretty beautiful in different way during the sun rise and sun set times, yet we travel during noon, thus we could see only the ordinary view and worship the Buddha image for good fortune.
GPS coordinates 7.170918,100.5411529
After we go down from the view point of Wat Khao Kut, we then go to worship the reclining Buddha image of Wat Laem Pho which is located at the end of Tinsulanonda bridge. There is a big reclining Buddha image enshrined at this temple with a lot of Thai and Chinese tourists come to worship. Among the hot weather like this, it must be great if I could have some ice-cream in coconut, it could help relieve a hot weather and make me feel fresh. Oh! it seems that I go off the topic now. LoL.
GPS coordinates 7.1585099,100.5565618
The last temple that we have visited is Wat Thai Yo that has an ancient Buddhist building and it is a center of the belief of local people here. Since we travel here during holidays and the Buddhist Lent Day is around the corner, thus there are a lot of Buddhists come to make a merit at the temple. Moreover, located next to the temple is a pavilion to admire the view with the superb atmosphere.
GPS coordinates 7.1551029,100.5319747
Bistro Cafe, Sit back at the front of the sea (5/8 Tasty Restaurants)
Before lunch, we stop by and sit back at the coffee shop which is made and redecorated from the old house to be the trendy style coffee shop under the wooden house which considerably gives the feeling of a garden house by the beach. As for the cakes, they are all tasty, not too sweet and the Latte that I have ordered also tastes just perfect.
GPS Coordinates 7.1521812,100.546569
Sirada Restaurant, Koh Yo. (6/8 Tasty Restaurants)
It is a bit weird as we have some desserts before lunch, yet we just travel along the route LoL. For this meal, as we are traveling in the province that lines along the sea, thus we intend to eat seafood and local food. And the restaurant that we have chosen is Sirada restaurant Koh Yor which is a renowned restaurant that could guarantee by the large number of customers here. We order a lot of menus to try, start with the recommended menu of this restaurant which is Spicy Gracilaria Seaweed Salad with Wild Betel Leaf (I feel so-so with this menu, the seaweed is like thin rice noodles both its look and taste). For other menus, whether it be Fried Soft Shell Crab with Garlic, Steamed Sea Bass with Soy Sauce, Kaeng Som Sour Soup with Crab and Sirada Shrimp, all the menu is made of fresh ingredients and it all comes with a full-favored taste in Thai Southern Style.
GPS coordinates 7.1722384,100.5456261
Wat Pha Kho (6/9 Attractions)
We bid farewell with the sacred route travel program by coming to worship the replica of Luang Pu Thuat at Wat Pha Kho which is the birth place of Luang Pu Thuat. Moreover, we also could see the pagoda that was built since Ayutthaya period at this temple.
GPS coordiantes 7.6015487,100.392422
Klongdan Floating Market (7/9 Attractions)
During the evening time, we head to Klongdan Floating Market which is located at the border area of two provinces which are Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat, which could be said that you could travel to both provinces just by crossing the canal. The extraordinary thing of this floating market is the local culture vibe, as apart from various products that sell here, there is also a stage to show local art performance all the time which could perfectly fill this place with an interesting atmosphere. From the view of the amount of the tourists who travel here, I think this floating market is considerably successful. Moreover, this place also has a great management system as everything looks well-organized, there are officers take care of security, furthermore, there is a signboard indicated that this market is a non-alcoholic market as well.
The atmosphere during night time by the river looks charming in different way.
Klongdan Floating Market would be opened only Saturday.
GPS coordinates 7.9139374,100.3092235
Samkak Thale Noi (7/8 Tasty Restaurants)
We have already reached Phatthalung during night time, then we start our first travel program in Phatthalung with having dinner at Samkak Thale Noi Restaurant which is a popular local restaurant of this province.
We order various menus for this meal, most of them are local foods such as Fried Catfish with Turmeric (the fish meat tastes awesome), Spicy Lotus Root Salad with Thin Rice Noodles, Kaeng Som Sour Soup with Catfish and Lotus Root, Kaeng Liang (Thai Spicy Mixed Vegetable Soup) with Fresh Shrimp, Sweet and Sour Red Tilapia, Fried Streaky Pork with Fish Sauce, Samkak Spicy Salad (this dish tastes delicious). Most menus would have lotus root or lotus stem and lotus petal as ingredients which could find in the local area, these ingredients could use for cooking and also taste delicious, especially the lotus stem.
GPS coordinates 7.767805,100.1218324
Tonight we stay at City Park Hotel which is located in Phatthalung downtown. The room is spacious in a modern style. Yet, as I feel exhausted from the whole day trip and tomorrow we also have a travel program in the early morning that requires me to wake up since around 04.00am to go taking photo, hence, I haven't take a photo of the hotel room this time.
Pak Pra-Thale Noi (8/9 Attractions)
For me, I have to say that Pak Pra is a highlight attraction of this trip, as I have seen a photo of a giant square dip nets that line up in the vast water area with the colorful of the sky during morning time as the background long time ago and would like to see it by my own eyes once, yet the only thing that I am worried about is the weather as it is raining all night long that I am not sure about tomorrow's weather during the morning time.
We set off from Phatthalung downtown at 04.30am, it takes us around half an hour riding to our destination at Pak Pra Bridge. At this time, there is no-one but our group, everyone is busy at finding location to settle their cameras and the area around is still dark, just only the horizon area where the sun will be rising up starts to have a glowing light.
I don't hesitate to start recording the picture which I have to use the shutter that has low speed around 30 seconds and ISO 400 for a perfect light. Only first picture that I have taken makes me feel content as it is pretty nice, the more the morning light gradually appears, the more the beauty of the atmosphere in front of me would be, it is pretty spectacular that I could not explain into a word. Each photo that I have taken is like the painting that was delicately painted with water color by a great artist.
Around 05.00am, we start to see the long tailed boat take tourists to go taking photo of giant square dip nets closely. The boats that run in the lake make some small wave, giving a different kind of beautiful picture.
We take photo till around 06.00am, then we head to get on the long tailed boat to take a photo of giant square dip nets in close distance and we also would go further to visit Thale Noi that located nearby. Well! the long tailed boat takes us to get close to the giant square dip nets for taking a nice photo in close distance.
Then the driver takes us to see farming by the lake. The golden light during the morning time with the pleasant cold weather that flows by while the boat is riding make me feel pretty refresh. Also the picture of an easy lifestyle around us makes me feel like I get into another world, the world of non chaos and simple, living by no need to compete and scramble with others.
The boat gradually takes us to pass under Ekachai Bridge to Thale Noi which I don't have any idea before that I will also come to visit this place in this trip. Luckily that the driver takes us to visit this place as other two boats in our group don't follow us to this place. At Thale Noi, there are many kinds of bird live and look for food here, thus it is the best place for those who like watching bird. Even I don't prefer watching bird very much but I also like this place as there are many kinds of bird to watch and the atmosphere is also tranquil and spectacular, especially during the morning time like this.
Even though the best season to visit Thale Noi would be around February as it is the lotus blooming period, yet for me the scenery like this is also adequately spectacular.
Our boat riding program takes around 2 hours, the boat fee costs 600 baht per hour and one boat could accommodate 7-8 people.
For those who don't want to wake up early, I suggest you guys to find an accommodation by the lake which located near the photo taking spot which is Si Pak Pra Resort or Wetland Camp. We feel regret that both places are fully booked on the day that we travel, thus we have to stay at a farer place in Phatthalung downtown. Anyway, if you have a plan to visit this place, you should make a reservation in advance as the view of these two accommodations is superb that you could see the view of giant square dip nets right from your room.
GPS coordinates 7.7271515,100.1442838 (at the bridge area which is also the photo taking point)
Lad Tai Nod (9/9 Attractions)
Lad Tai Nod is a Sunday market fair of Phatthalung that has been set up for some times, yet it's just popular recently as there are a lot of cute local goods and local food that come with a trendy packaging from the nature which could very well meet the tourists' need as nowadays tourists much prefer seeking for the way of life in ancient time. Well! although we haven't reached the market, but we could also know the popularity of this market now as we got stuck in a traffic since 2 kilometers before reaching the market. Finally, we end up walking almost 1 kilometer to the market due to we feel that it's definitely hard to find a parking spot inside and that might waste our time.
Perhaps we come a bit late as a lot of shops have already sold out their goods and some shops also sold out those goods with trendy package. I think it is because there are a great number of tourists visiting here and it might be because during this time is a long holidays, if it is just a normal Sunday, the visitors might not be crowded like this.
The area of Lad Tai Nod is adequately big, it takes around 30-40 minutes walking all over places. There are various goods selling from food, fresh good, souvenir and etc. Apart from this, there is also the stage to show the local art performance. Overall, it is a lively market with a local style vibe, the environment is also clean with less trashes to be seen. Moreover, one thing that I like is that there is a project of sorting trash.
GPS coordiantes 7.7353523,99.9564967
Lan Ta Chu Steak House (8/8 Tasty Restaurant)
For the last meal of this Songkhla-Phatthalung trip, we go to eat at Lan Ta Chu Steak House which is located at the main road side from Phatthalung to Hat Yai. This restaurant is one of renowned restaurants of the province with a lot of customers visiting here. The main menu would be various kinds of steak to choose from, moreover, they also serve Japanese food and Thai food too.
I order Salmon Salad and Pork Steak Cordon Bleu for this meal, the salad tastes perfect for me. Yet, for the steak, I order it wrongly as I misunderstand it with another menu, it is my bad as I just see the number of the menu and order it right away, anyway I end up by being served with Rolled Pork with Cheese Steak. Obviously, it is not the restaurant's fault but the menu just makes me get a bit confused. As for the taste of this place is also delicious. Actually I also would like to order the one that I want to eat but it must take long time as there are a lot of customers, thus just end this dish up is also good enough.
One reason that makes this restaurant have a lot of customers visiting is maybe because the reasonable price, each dish in a menu costs just around 100 baht, most of them not more than 200 baht.
GPS coordiantes 7.7106308,99.9903187
From Lan Ta Chu Steak House, we head straight to Hat Yai airport to catch the flight back to Bangkok with Nok Air. At first, our program is to go buying souvenir at Hat Yai, yet due to we run into the bad traffic jam at Lad Tad Nod, thus we have to cancel this program. Well! it's alright, as throughout these 3 days, we are already feel pretty much content, this trip is kind like opening up new aspects of Songkhla and Phatthalung for me. I do not exaggerate to say that I would give 10 out of 10 for this trip, the reason is that I could travel with friends who have same kind of interesting things, we go along very well, although someone I have just met this time, but it feels like I know them for many years. Moreover, in this trip I also have a chance to try various local foods and especially I could take photo of Central Mosque of Songkhla and Pak Pra as per my intention.
Lastly, I would like to press my thank to Tourism Authority of Thailand, Hat Yai Branch for well-arranging this trip, thank you Nok Air for flying us to Hat Yai with 4 flights (include flights from Phuket) by without any delay, only arrive before time. Tourists could have a confidence to fly a pleasant flight with Nok Air. Apart from this, I have to thank you all of friends in this trip that make this trip to be my pleasant period. Finally, I would like to thank you generous local people both Songkhla people and Phatthalun people, I do promise that I will definitely visit both places again.
I would end this review with a photo that taken from the window seat on the plane, the rain is showering, I am a bit scared that there might be a strong wind, yet the place has taken off smoothly and there is also a nice rainbow to be seen, it is my first time to see almost 360 degrees circle of a large rainbow like this.
Lastly, I would like to leave my channels for you guys to follow and see my works at: